In our current, modern way of life, we are sometimes convinced (by the media, or by behaviours of other people) that happiness is correlative to success, and success is correlative to economic wealth. In other words, the wealthier we are, the more successful we are – hence the happier we are. If this equation was true, then devouting our lives to work and consumerism would lead to a happy and perfect life.
But this equation could not be farther away from reality. In our pursuit of happiness, it is important that we make a clear distinction between happiness and pleasure. Whereas there might be some fringe relation between the two, pleasure tends to be more of an ephemeral -and misguiding- sensation.
Let’s take the example of a person who buys a luxurious car. As soon as they drive out of the car dealership, they will for sure feel a rush of adrenaline and a sense of pride and achievement running through their veins. At the end of the day, the luxurious car is a result of their hard work, more like a reward for their efforts. Will that feeling last forever? Unlikely. How long will it take, then, until the adrenaline and pride rushes wash off? Once that happens, this person will feel the need to reward themselves again. Maybe next time they’ll be treating themselves to an expensive dinner with champagne and caviar?
What this person obtained by buying the expensive car was pleasure: A momentary sensation, produced by external stimuli. Indeed, the car is not a source of happiness. In fact, neither the car nor any material possession can ever be considered as a potential source of pleasure because happiness is a state of mind. As such, happiness comes from within, and has the potential to outlast the effects of any pleasure.
Happiness is all about finding the goodness within ourselves, and absorbing the positive energy of our surroundings. To achieve happiness, you should not aim to satisfy your need to be happy with the pleasure from possessing material wealth. Look into your body, mind and soul first, and find out the necessary balance that will open the gates to happiness. In the words of Paramhansa Yogananda, “You must first establish it firmly within yourself and then, with an undying resolution always to be happy, go through the world seeking health, prosperity, and wisdom. You will find greater happiness if you seek success ever with a happy attitude than if you try to gain your heart’s desire with an unhappy mind, no matter what that desire may be.“